Russia asks Philippines to honor helicopter purchase deal because it needs to sell military equipment to Moscow, Foreign Policy reports.
The two countries have signed an agreement for a joint effort to develop a helicopter to be called “Viktor” (as in Russia) for the Philippines, an agreement that was the first of its kind between Russia and a Southeast Asian nation.
But Russia’s sale of Mi-35 and Mi-24 helicopters to the Philippines also requires approval from the United States, which is now threatening to withhold the helicopter purchase, citing Russian violations of a number of international arms control agreements.
The U.S. State Department told Reuters it is “disappointed by recent media reports that Russia is attempting to export to the Philippines substandard Russian-made military helicopters and anti-aircraft guns. We have been informed that Russia is attempting to sell the Philippines substandard Mi-35 and Mi-24 helicopters, which are unsuited for military aviation and designed for use with Soviet-made air-to-air missiles. We are also concerned about a Russian shipment of ammunition to the Philippines. We are investigating the importation of substandard weapons into the United States as well, which violate the Arms Control and Export Act and other relevant United States laws.”
According to RT, the deal is being opposed by the Philippine government, in cooperation with U.S. and European Union officials, because Russian helicopters don’t meet the minimum requirements for military operations required for an aircraft to be certified by the United States.
The United States is demanding that the Philippine government sign a certification confirming that the Russian helicopters can meet its requirements.
The Philippines and Russia have also been involved in other arms deals. In December 2017, the Philippines announced that Russia would be providing it with its first-ever stealth submarines, though the vessels had yet to be delivered. The vessels are likely to be based in Russia’s Leningrad, an industrial hub with a large population of former Soviet citizens.
Last month, the two countries announced the start of cooperation on the development of a strategic missile defense system, which could be deployed by Russia in the near future.